Protection of Civilians Report | 26 September - 9 October 2017
On 26 September, a 37-year-old Palestinian man shot and killed three Israelis, including two security guards and a border policeman, and injured another border policeman, at a Barrier gate next to the Har Hadar settlement (Jerusalem governorate); the perpetrator was shot and killed at the scene. The perpetrator’s body is being withheld by the Israeli authorities. The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, strongly condemned the attack (link is external). This brings to 14 the number of Israelis killed by Palestinians since the beginning of 2017, of whom nine were members of the security forces, while the number of Palestinian perpetrators and suspected perpetrators of attacks killed during this period reached 23, including six children.
In the aftermath of the attack, Israeli forces closed the two main entrances to Beit Surik village (Jerusalem governorate), where the perpetrator lived, and restricted access to the main road connecting this and another eight villages surrounded by the Barrier to the rest of the West Bank for a period of three days. As a result, the access of around 35,000 people residing in these villages to services and livelihoods was severely disrupted. Israeli forces also searched the perpetrator’s family home and surveyed it.
On 4 October, the body of a 70-year-old male Israeli settler was found with stab signs on it in the town of Kafr Qasim within Israel. Israeli security sources indicated, according to Israeli media reports, that the man was killed by Palestinians for “nationalistic reasons”. Two Palestinian men from the village of Qabatiya (Jenin), suspected by the Israeli authorities of the killing, were arrested by Israeli forces. 62 Palestinians, including 23 children and two women, were injured across the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in clashes with Israeli forces. Six of the injuries occurred in the Gaza Strip, during protests next to the perimeter fence, and the rest in the West Bank. Most injuries (42) were recorded during nine search and arrest operations in Biddu, Beit Surik, Silwan and Shu’fat refugee camp, in the Jerusalem governorate, and in the Jalazun refugee camp and Al Bireh, in Ramallah. Other clashes resulting in injuries occurred during the weekly demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), An Nabi Saleh and Ni’lin (both in Ramallah); at the entrance of Beit ‘Ummar and Al ‘Arrub refugee camp (both in Hebron); and following the entrance of Israeli settlers to a religious site near Jericho city.
Overall, Israeli forces conducted 121 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 205 Palestinians, including nine children. The Hebron governorates accounted for the highest portion of operations (36) and the Jerusalem governorate accounted the highest number of arrests (53). Also in the West Bank, Israeli forces deployed at least 156 ‘flying’ ad-hoc checkpoints during the reporting period, more than double the bi-weekly average since the beginning of the year.
On ten days during the reporting period, the Israeli authorities imposed a general closure in the West Bank for the Jewish holidays. All West Bank ID holders, including workers and traders with valid permits, were prevented from entering East Jerusalem and Israel through all checkpoints, except for emergency medical cases, students and Palestinian employees of international NGOs and UN agencies.
In at least ten incidents in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards Palestinian civilians present in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA), at land and sea, resulting in no injuries. Additionally, on one occasion, Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip, east of Deir El-Balah, in the middle area, and carried out land levelling and excavation operations in the vicinity of the perimeter fence. The Israeli authorities demolished three structures and seized materials and equipment citing the lack of building permits in various communities in Area C, affecting the livelihoods of more than 800 Palestinians. Among the targeted structures was part of a donor-funded agriculture road providing access to land to farmers from three communities in the northern Jordan Valley; during this incident, a portion of a donor-funded irrigation network, supplying water for irrigation to the same area, sustained damage. In another two incidents, Israeli forces seized zinc sheets to be used for the construction of a residential structure in the Mak-hul herding community, in the northern Jordan Valley, and a range of materials and equipment used for the construction of a school in the Abu Nuwar Bedouin community in the Jerusalem governorate.
Four herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley (Mak-hul, Humsa-Al Bqai'a, Al Farisiya – Ihmayyer, and Al Farisiya – Nabe’ Al Ghazal) became at heightened risk of displacement following rulings by the Israeli High Court of Justice in early October 2017 that ended an injunction freezing demolition orders in these communities. It is estimated that more than 200 structures in these communities can now be demolished at any time, placing some 170 people, including 90 children, at risk of displacement.
In three separate incidents involving Israeli settlers, two Palestinians were injured and property damage was reported. Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured a Palestinian man, member of the Palestinian Security Forces, near Qabalan (Nablus); another man, a women and a girl were injured in a stone-throwing incident at Beit ‘Einoun junction (Hebron). According to Palestinian local sources, the harvest of 70 olive trees was stolen, reportedly by Israeli settlers, in an area next to Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) that requires access-coordination.
During the reporting period, the Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions. During 2017, the crossing was partially opened for only 29 days. Over 20,000 people, including humanitarian cases, are registered and waiting to cross, according to the Palestinian authorities in Gaza.
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